"Chiaverini has an impressive ability to bring a time and place alive, showcasing the effects of Prohibition on farmers in Sonoma Valley. " — Romantic Times
"[An] emotionally compelling tale." —Chicago Tribune
"Chiaverini does an excellent job of describing the lush landscapes of California wine country, while simultaneously painting a touching portrait of the difficulties faced by farming families who must tend to one another, as well as the earth." —Publishers Weekly
As the nation grapples with the strictures of Prohibition, Rosa Diaz Barclay lives on a Southern California rye farm with her volatile husband, John, who has lately found another source of income far outside the Federal purview.
Mother to eight children, Rosa mourns the loss of four who succumbed to the mysterious wasting disease currently afflicting young Ana and Miguel. Two daughters born of another father are in perfect health. When an act of violence shatters Rosa’s resolve to maintain her increasingly dangerous existence, she flees with the children and her precious heirloom quilts to the mesa where she last saw her beloved mother alive.Sonoma Rose Book Club Resources
As a flash flood traps Rosa and her children in a treacherous canyon, only one man is brave—or foolhardy—enough to come to their rescue: Lars Jorgenson, Rosa’s first love and the father of her healthy daughters. Together they escape to San Francisco, where a leading specialist offers beneficence far greater than this physician’s oath, directing them to a family farm where the children can convalesce while the adults work the harvest of luscious grapes.
Yet even in rural Sonoma County, safety continues to elude the fugitives. New identities offer scant protection from Rosa’s vengeful husband, the police who seek her for questioning, and the gangsters Lars reported to Prohibition agents—officers representing a department often as corrupt as the mob itself.
Drawn to the plight of local winemakers whose honest labors at viticulture have, through no fault of their own, become illegal, Rosa aspires to learn their craft. Ever mindful that his youthful alcoholism provoked Rosa to spurn him, Lars nevertheless supports Rosa’s daring plan to stake their futures on a struggling Sonoma County vineyard.
Rich with the vibrant detail of one of America’s most storied eras, Sonoma Rose is a novel of passions – for love and work and family – that yields a generous bounty.Read the first chapter »
Set in California during Prohibition, Chiaverini's newest Elm Creek Quilts novel (after The Union Quilters) follows Rosa Diaz Barclay as she flees her abusive, bootlegger husband, John, in search of a better life with her true love, Lars Jorgensen, and a cure for the mysterious disease that's already claimed four of her children, and threatens to kill the others--two of which were fathered by the troubled Lars. Finding work at a now-illegal vineyard in Sonoma Valley, the couple get caught in a web of cops, mobsters, and farmers trying to survive, all the while struggling to care for their kids, iron out their own relationship, and enjoy the region they've come to love. Chiaverini does an excellent job of describing the lush landscapes of California wine country, while simultaneously painting a touching portrait of the difficulties faced by farming families who must tend to one another, as well as the earth. Agent: Maria Massie, Massie Lippincott McQuilkin. (Feb.)
— Publishers Weekly
Chiaverini has an impressive ability to bring a time and place alive, showcasing the effects of Prohibition on farmers in Sonoma Valley. The wine country of California is a popular setting for novels right now, and it is fascinating to get a look at the history of the place.
When Rosa learns that her abusive husband has fallen in with bootleg mobsters and that there are guns, money and liquor in her barn, she takes her two children and the money. They assume new identities in San Francisco with Rosa’s childhood sweetheart, Lars, and learn of a possible treatment for the children’s mysterious illness. However, they’re paying the doctors with stolen gangster money and know they are being hunted. They end up settling in Sonoma Valley, where they hire out as farm hands. Their new friends will change their lives and make them committed to their new home, but the tightrope between the mob and the revenuers is a hard balance. Can Rosa and Lars make a family together and get a second chance at happiness? (DUTTON, Feb., 416 pp., $27.50)
— Romantic Times Book Reviews
Rosa Diaz Barclay endured years of husband John's abuse, but one day Rosa realizes it is time to leave. Taking her four children and a few precious family keepsakes, Rosa flees, only to receive some unexpected help from her first love: Lars Jorgensen. Together the two set out to make a new future for themselves in the wine country of Sonoma Valley in Chiaverini's emotionally compelling tale.
— John Charles, Chicago Tribune